During the federal election, candidates should consider a renovation rebate or tax credit to promote seismic safety and mitigation of asbestos in homes.

There are hundreds of tremors and small earthquakes annually in our region that usually go unnoticed.

They are constant reminders we live in a subduction zone where large earthquakes can happen any time.

Experts say in the next 50 years, there is a 30% chance of a damaging earthquake, and a 10% to 15% chance of a massive earthquake.

Thousands of older homes in our community require anchor bolts, tie-downs and other measures for protection against an inevitable, major earthquake.

A renovation rebate could also help cover the costs of asbestos abatement, a toxic product approved years ago by the government and now costing homeowners thousands of dollars to remove.

The federal govt helped install asbestos in homes through their Canadian Home Insulation Program (CHIP) offering grants for insulation such as Zonolite.

Asbestos can be also found in stucco, drywall, roof shingles, window putty, vinyl floor tiles, wiring, cement, and more.

Consumers and contractors relied on federal and provincial govts to ensure these products were safe, which was not the case.

A renovation rebate is both an ethical obligation by a government that approved and subsidized the materials as well as a responsible investment in public health and safety.

This would also create tax revenue by requiring receipts, helping to battle the underground economy while creating skilled jobs in every community.

Now, during this pandemic, is the time for election candidates to step up and invest in jobs, health and safety.

This column appears Wednesdays in the Times Colonist.

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